Transportation Funding Programs
Voters in 2008 and again in 2016 authorized the use of selling bonds to fund project development and construction costs for projects on the county and state roadway systems. The County has been able to take advantage of its AA bond rating to sell bonds at low interest rates. The County also works closely with its Financial Advisor to time bond refinancing to take advantage of prevailing lower interest rates, significantly lowering the County’s cost to fund transportation improvements throughout the County.
Hays County is also funding transportation improvements in a Partnership model between the County and the Texas Department of Transportation. The County has been utilizing project development and construction savings from its Priority Road Bond (originally funded with General Obligation bonds approved by voters in 2008) and Pass-Through Financing Programs (originally funded with Pass-Through Revenue bonds approved by voters in 2008) along with a $40 million construction funding commitment from TxDOT to fund this program of improvements on the state roadway system.
Pass-Through Financing was authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2003 to address limited funding available for transportation infrastructure and to expand the partnership opportunities for local entities to accelerate improvements. Local entities could pay upfront for approved projects and then be reimbursed by TxDOT once projects were open to traffic. Reimbursement is based on the number of vehicles using the road within a set period of time. While the Pass-Through Finance Program is now uniformly administered, Hays County – an early adopter – was able to negotiate a quarterly reimbursement schedule rather than the now standard annual reimbursement schedule. This will result in the County securing repayment more quickly and reducing project financing costs. For more information on TxDOT’s Pass-Through Finance Program, visit http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/office/innovative-finance/pass-finance.html.
State and Federal Funding
Hays County has been able to utilize state and federal funding for several of the County’s transportation improvement programs. Such funds, flowing through the Texas Department of Transportation, include general obligation bond financing for transportation improvements authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2007 and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds authorized by Congress in 2009. Two more recent state funding sources, Proposition 1 approved by voters in 2014 authorizing an amount of tax revenues from oil and gas production to be transferred into the State Highway Fund, and Proposition 7 approved by voters in 2015 authorizing a portion of state sales and use tax to be transferred to the State Highway Fund, are also providing the Texas Department of Transportation additional capacity to fund construction of many Hays County transportation improvements. In May 2018, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) selected eight projects (seven of which are current road bond projects) to provide some or all of the construction funding for a total allocation of $61.21 million to the County.